449: Make a Mindful Investment in Yourself, a Hack for Falling Asleep, and Fun with Pop-Tarts

Update

If you want more information on the upcoming Happier in Hollywood writers’ retreat, email happierinhollywood@gmail.com.

Try This at Home

Make a mindful investment in yourself; that is, make intentional decisions about how to spend your time, energy, and money on yourself and your future-self.

I mention the earplugs I bought to protect my hearing and the air fryer that Jamie and I bought.

Happiness Hack

Listen to a podcast to help you fall asleep or relax.

According to new research, nearly half of podcast listeners have used a podcast to help them fall asleep, and more than three-quarters have used a podcast for relaxation.

Our “soporific” episode is here.

Fun with the Five Senses

With a friend or family member, eat a food for nostalgia’s sake.

I write about the power of flavor and memory in Life in Five Senses.

When Elizabeth and I were in Kansas City together, we ate frosted cherry Pop-Tarts. What a wave of memories!

We mention that for both of us, our most neglected sense is taste. If you want to learn your most-neglected senses, take the quiz here: “What’s Your Most Neglected Sense? 

Listener Question

A listener’s adult son is living at home while he’s looking for a job, and while it’s great to have him home, he’s very messy—and that’s causing strife. The listener asks for ideas about how to resolve this issue.

I mention my book Outer Order, Inner Calm. It includes hundreds of hacks for clutter-clearing.

Demerits & Gold Stars

Gretchen’s Demerit: I delay minor fixes and repairs.

Elizabeth’s Gold Star: Elizabeth gives a gold star to my daughter Eliza for her discussion of board games in her Substack newsletter, “Lucky Duck”—”Analyzing fun, for fun.” If you want to read it for yourself, for free, it’s at luckyduck.substack.com.

Resource

I so appreciate the support and enthusiasm of the Super-Fans! If you’d like to join the Super-Fans group, and get occasional emails from me, sign up here: happiercast.com/superfan.

What We’re Reading

449

 

[music] 

 

Gretchen

Hello and welcome to Happier! A podcast where we talk about ways to be happier. This week we’ll talk about why we should take the time to think about making mindful investments in ourselves. And we will suggest a great hack for getting better sleep. I’m Gretchen Rubin, a writer who studies happiness, Good Habits. The Five Senses Human Nature.

 

Gretchen

I am in the laundry room of our parents home in Kansas City. And joining me today from the kitchen is Elizabeth Craft, my sister.

 

Elizabeth

That’s me, Elizabeth Craft, a TV writer and producer living in L.A. But today we are in Kansas City. Yay!

 

Gretchen

Yeah, we had Winstead’s for lunch. We’re going to the plaza later. We’re having a great time, as always.

 

Elizabeth

Yes. Hey Gretch, we have an upcoming special episode about performance.

 

Gretchen

Yes. So every 10th episode is a very special episode. And episode 450 is all going to be about tips for performance. So this is every day a performance when you’re on stage, whether you’re giving a toast or giving a presentation or giving a speech. What are the hacks that you’ve used to keep yourself calm, to keep yourself focused?

 

Gretchen

Just anything that has helped you to be a better performer. And also, Elizabeth, you have an exciting announcement. Let’s remind everybody about the Happier in Hollywood retreat.

 

Elizabeth

Yes, that’s right. Sarah and I are doing a Happier in Hollywood retreat October 20th through 26th at the Johnny Cash ranch in Ojai. So cool. So you look.

 

Gretchen

So.

 

Elizabeth

Cool. Talking a lot about how to get a job as a TV writer in Hollywood. But it can also apply to other jobs. So you need not be a TV writer to come on. It’s a limited number of people, so everyone will really get individual attention. Very excited.

 

Gretchen

And how do people get information?

 

Elizabeth

Email us at happierinhollywood@gmail.com and we will send you the information. Also you can join our facebook group, Happier in Hollywood and get the information there as well.

 

Gretchen

That is so exciting.

 

Elizabeth

Yeah.

 

Gretchen

This week I tried this at home suggestion is to make a mindful investment in yourself.

 

Elizabeth

So what does that mean?

 

Gretchen

So when we make a mindful investment in ourselves, that means we’re making intentional decisions about ways to spend our time, energy or money or all three on ourselves and on our future selves. Because there are some things that, you know, there are impulse buys or there are certain things that you buy for other people. But sometimes we can make decisions that will really help us to make a mindful investment in ourselves.

 

Gretchen

And sometimes to, you know, you have to remind yourself, I’m worth investing in. It’s easy to say, Oh, this is indulgent or I shouldn’t spend money on this, but sometimes you should spend money on this. Maybe you’re like, Oh, I don’t want to spend a lot of time on this project. It’s like, But maybe you should. So this is to remind ourselves to think about, am I making a decision that is going to be a mindful investment?

 

Elizabeth

And it can make life in the present richer. Yes, it can also improve and protect the experience of your future self.

 

Gretchen

Absolutely. So this is something that can improve the present. It can influence the future. It can help you identify tools that will make life better because you’re asking yourself if I bought a new bike, is this something that would be likely to make me healthier in the future? Make me happier in the future? Is this going to,q this is an expense, but this is something that I think is really going to pay off.

 

Gretchen

I really think I’m going to use it. That’s always a big question. With mindful investment, you don’t want to buy something for your fantasy self, which can be tricky sometimes and it’s also a way to invest in your community and in your values, because sometimes we spend our time, energy or money on something that puts our values into the world.

 

Gretchen

And that’s a very, very important element of a happy life and a virtuous life, of course, as well.

 

Elizabeth

So you were telling me you recently invested in yourself.

 

Gretchen

Yes. Okay. So I signed up for a six week, once a week watercolor class.

 

Elizabeth

In-person, not even on Zoom. Right?

 

Gretchen

Well, as you may remember Elizabeth, I was looking for online classes to take. But I thought, you know what? It’s just not going to be as fun and I’m not likely to actually do it if it’s online. If I do it in person, it’ll be more fun. A friend of mine had taken this class and really loved it, so that was one thing that told me it would be a good investment.

 

Gretchen

Also, Eleanor did a little watercolor drawing for our parents for Christmas, and I was staggered by how good it was. I was like, Eleanor, I had no idea that you were such a gifted artist. And she’s like, Mom, watercolor is a really forgiving medium. Like, you don’t have to be that good. It looks really good. I’m like, That’s what I need.

 

Gretchen

I need something more like a few tricks in my bag of tricks will get good results. And I love the idea of just the materials and choosing the colors. And and then once I signed up, I told a couple of friends and they’re like, That sounds great. Maybe I’ll take it too. So I’ve been sending the link to people.

 

Gretchen

So this is really an investment in if it turned into like a really valuable hobby, it could be something that would be fun for decades. It’ll make me closer to my friends, you know, It’s like the ukulele thing. Elizabeth It was an experience. It was an experiment. I didn’t love the ukulele, but I learned something about myself, and I don’t regret my time attempting to play the ukulele.

 

Gretchen

Let’s hope that the watercolor is a little bit more enjoyable than that. But nothing ventured, nothing gained. This is a good investment, I thought, in mindful investment and.

 

Elizabeth

Living in an atmosphere of growth which is.

 

Gretchen

What was 100%.

 

Elizabeth

Comes back to.

 

Gretchen

Well, often mindful investment is related to the atmosphere of growth. Often. Often. How about you? Can you think of an example?

 

Elizabeth

Yeah. Well, Gretchen, I invested in my feet so a while back my feet were hurting so much. I mean, I really were aching at night. They were, I was having pains. I was so distraught because I thought, oh my gosh, I really want to walk a lot and my feet are hurting so much, am I not going to be able to walk?

 

Elizabeth

So I went to a podiatrist and she had me walk. She asked me a million questions. She studied my feet and all of these things. And then finally she just said, Well, what shoes are you wearing? What running shoes? And I told her and she said, Well, that’s it. And she was very firm that I was wearing not the right shoes, just side hack for everyone.

 

Elizabeth

Gretch, running shoes or shoes that you walk in in a lot really should have a lot of structure is what she described to me. They shouldn’t be easy to bend and turn. And I was wearing the lightest ones I could find, which, it turns out is not a good idea. So she said, I want you to go from here to this store and here are three brands I want you to try on and get that shoe and your feet will be better.

 

Gretchen

And you’re thinking, Can it be that easy After all of that? Could the solution be that basic?

 

Elizabeth

It seemed impossible. So I went. I did exactly what she said. I bought two pair of the exact same shoes and it changed my experience. Within maybe three days, my feet stopped hurting and they haven’t hurt since. I had all these shoes I was wearing, so I really technically didn’t need new running shoes. Right? There are walking shoes, but beyond words, the mud, right?

 

Elizabeth

Because I did need them, as it turns out, because I had the wrong ones. Money that I have never regretted spending.

 

Gretchen

Well, sort of related to the idea of health. I invested in my future self because doing all this research into the five senses for writing life in five senses got me very focused on protecting my senses in every way possible. So that has made me much more focused on protecting my ears. And with my daughters, they were getting ready to go to a concert.

 

Gretchen

I was like, Oh my gosh, you should wear earplugs. And they were. They said to me, Mom, of course, we always wear earplugs. Everybody. We know wears earplugs. I was, a I was relieved, but B, I was like, I got to get one, too, because I have a concert coming up. And so they’ve told me what they’ve got, which was the loop experience plus earplugs.

 

Gretchen

I’ll put a link if anybody wants to know what it is. And I got them for me and I got them for my husband, Jamie, too. Because you just really don’t want to expose your ears to really loud, persistent sound. And so I was like, this is something. I’m really glad to have this in my back pocket now.

 

Gretchen

And so that was a mindful investment. And kind of along the same lines, I took a class in AI. I took an online class and like understanding as a writer how to think about using AI tools. And I think that’s really good because my future self is really going to wish that I understood how to do it. And so that’s another way of investing in my future understanding of the world.

 

Elizabeth

Yeah, it’s great to just find and invest in tools that make life better work and help you achieve your aims.

 

Gretchen

Well, here’s a great example. So because again, as we were saying, one of the problems with mindful investment is sometimes your fantasy self can get in the way. We’ve all done it where you’re like, Oh yeah, I’m absolutely going to get into yoga and you buy all this stuff and you do.

 

Elizabeth

It right, and I can’t tell you how often I force myself to skip past all the specialized pickleball paddles. Yes, pickleball holders that are out there that are just tempting me because my fantasy self plays pickleball at least twice a week.

 

Gretchen

Yeah, right. Right. Kind of a drive by hack is if there’s something that you think you’d like to do, but you’re not sure you’re going to absolutely stick with it. You might buy the least expensive version and see if you like it. And then if you are using it frequently, then you can upgrade. So for example, with the yoga mat, you might just borrow a yoga mat from a friend or get some cheap yoga mat.

 

Gretchen

That’s not the top of the line yoga mat that you want. And then when you find yourself doing yoga and really thinking, Wow, this would really be a great mindful investment in my yoga experience, then you can upgrade, but then you’re not spending a lot of money on tools that you’re not sure that you’re going to use. One example of this where I wondered whether we were making a good choice for mindful investment was when my husband Jamie wanted an air fryer because these appliances, they’re trends where everybody’s getting some big appliance and then you use it and then some people keep using it and then some people don’t.

 

Gretchen

And I thought, Wow, this air fryer, it’s big, It’s a whole thing. Is he really going to use it? But he really wanted it. So we got it. And Jamie uses the Ninja Air fryer. He uses that because he likes to cook, unlike you and me, he uses it at least a couple times a week, sometimes several times a week.

 

Gretchen

So it’s really something that was really worth buying, which was a relief because I wasn’t sure it was going to go that way. But it’s a tool that makes life better. It’s a way to make healthy food and it makes cooking more fun for him.

 

Elizabeth

And then Gretch, I think you mentioned earlier, there’s also investing in your values.

 

Gretchen

Yes. So one of the things that you might do and this might be your time, energy and or money is is there an organization that you want to support? And so part of it is doing the research, let’s say you have a value like voter registration or supporting students going to college for the first year. You have to do a little bit of research, like what are the organizations that I think do the best job of doing that?

 

Gretchen

And then how would I get involved? Would I donate my time? Would I donate my money? Do I have any expertise to lend? That’s not always so easy to figure out, what is the best way to serve your value, but it’s a really important thing for us to do. And so that is also a mindful investment because it’s a mindful investment in your values.

 

Elizabeth

So it’s all about just making a point of doing things rather than just sort of going around haphazardly, spending your time, energy and money, just as I think many do. Because, yes, you have to remember to take that time.

 

Gretchen

Yes. I mean, it’s always coming back to mindfulness, which is so hard. Yeah. And so it’s a mindfulness. So let us know. You do try this at home and how you might mindfully invest in yourself. And what did you choose? Fascinating. Let us know on Instagram, Threads, Tik Tok, Facebook. Drop us an email at podcast@gretchenrubin.com Or as always you can go to the show notes this is happier cars.com slash 449 for everything related to this episode.

 

Elizabeth

Coming up we’ve got a sleep hack that first this break. 

 

[music]

 

Okay gretchen we are back with the happiness hack and this week it’s something to help you fall asleep.

 

Gretchen

Yeah, this is something that we have mentioned in the past, which is using listening to podcasts as an aid to falling asleep. But it’s worth mentioning again because there’s new research that shows that nearly half of podcast listeners have used a podcast to help them fall asleep. And more than three quarters have used a podcast for relaxation. So this is really something.

 

Gretchen

As podcasts become more popular, people are really using podcasts not just for entertainment, not just for education, but as a way to help them fall asleep and to relax. And Elizabeth, we do this.

 

Elizabeth

Yes, I do this almost every single night. And this one feature that podcasts have, which is so useful, is the sleep feature. Yes. So you can easily set your podcasts to turn off in 15, 30 or 45 minutes or.

 

Gretchen

The end of the episode. Yeah, you can have a go all the way to the end of the episode and then and so you have that flexibility.

 

Elizabeth

Yeah. And then you don’t wake up. It’s not going all night.

 

Gretchen

You and I do this. My husband Jamie does this, our parents do this, my daughters do this. This is just a really helpful thing. Okay, But here is the question. So this is sort of the know yourself better angle. Do you listen to something that is interesting to you and then you just fall asleep and then rewind it later?

 

Gretchen

If you missed something, which inevitably you do or do you listen to something that is specifically designed to be a fall asleep or relax podcast, which do you choose?

 

Elizabeth

I listen to something that interests me, but something that I listen to a lot. So I don’t feel if I missed something a bit, it’s going to be a problem. And I will say I do often end up going back and rewinding. Yes, but I want the material to be familiar enough that I don’t I’m not tempted to stay awake, to listen.

 

Elizabeth

You know what I mean? Yeah. So it has to be something I like listening to, but that I know I don’t need to hear this particular episode in this moment.

 

Gretchen

Yeah, I was surprised because I was talking to our mother and she will listen to something that she’s really interested in. And I was like, Doesn’t it keep you awake? Because you’re like, Want to hear what’s happened? And she said, No, it doesn’t keep you awake. And then she just goes back, like you said, and rewind it. I listen to things like you that I listen to things that are interesting, but often for me it’s about how they’re talking.

 

Gretchen

So I love the two podcasts. The rest is history. And in our time, which are history podcasts, and they’re sort of conversational calm podcast. So it’s very interesting. But again, it’s a little bit academic and I’m not on the edge of my seat. It’s it’s an episode like The Age of Augustus. I’m not on the edge of my seat to figure out what’s going to happen next.

 

Gretchen

And they’re having sort of a quiet, calm conversation. And yet it’s interesting enough to keep my mind occupied. And I don’t know about you, Elizabeth, but one of the things that really surprised me once I started doing this is I was falling asleep much faster than I thought when I realized how far I had to rewind it to go back to the part that I didn’t remember.

 

Gretchen

I thought I had been lying there for like 25 minutes. This is more like 7 minutes. It’s kind of good to learn.

 

Elizabeth

Yes, I’ve had that same experience.

 

Gretchen

But then there are podcasts that are designed specifically to help people fall asleep. There are more of these all the time. Jamie sometimes listens to a podcast called Sleep With Me, which is hilariously boring and slow, so he really likes that. So there’s that.

 

Elizabeth

And Gretchen, remember we did our soporific episodes.

 

Gretchen

Yes, I will post the link to that in the show notes. Yeah. Because we decided we wanted to be like very slow and calm but also interesting because it was a very slow.

 

Elizabeth

Calm.

 

Gretchen

But interesting conversation about all the roles of the people involved in the making of a TV show. And yet we were speaking like very not like that, but almost. Yes.

 

Elizabeth

And we did hear from many people that it helped them fall asleep.

 

Gretchen

Yeah. Now it was really fun. So this is a good hack if you have a hard time falling asleep or if you’re awake in the middle of the night, I will often turn it on in the middle of the night. You’ve got racing thoughts or you’re finding it hard to go back to sleep or you’re getting frustrated because you can’t go back to sleep.

 

Gretchen

A lot of times listening to a podcast can help.

 

Elizabeth

Yes. Okay, Gretch. It is time for fun with the five senses.

 

Gretchen

Oh, and this is such a fun one. The idea is to have fun with the five senses by eating a food for nostalgia sake. So you can do this with a friend or a family member, but you pick a food that for some reason conjures up happy memories of the past. And maybe it’s something that you don’t eat or drink now.

 

Gretchen

Often it’s something that isn’t present in your life because if you’re eating it now, you eat a peanut butter sandwich. For the last 75 years. It might not have a lot of nostalgia, but if it’s something that you ate at a certain time or drank at a certain time and you don’t really now, it’s probably has all those memories.

 

Gretchen

So go back and choose one of those flavors and really relish all the memories that it brings back.

 

Elizabeth

So you did this with something you always had in law school?

 

Gretchen

Yes. It was funny for Life in Five senses. When I was writing that, I happened to come across a bottle of diet Peach Snapple in a convenience store, which is a very kind of odd drink. You don’t run into that just in everyday life. But for whatever reason in my law school, that was the one diet beverage that I could get.

 

Gretchen

And so I just drank it by the gallon. But then I never drank it again and it brought back. I had to get it. I got it. It brought back so many memories. I brought some home for Jamie because, of course, we went to law school together. So he remembered drinking it. He didn’t drink it the way I did, but he remembers me drinking it.

 

Gretchen

And then when I was on my book tour, a lot of people gave me diet Peach Snapple because I write about it in the book, which I thought was so moving. So now it’s going to remind me of my book tour and law school. But yeah, it was amazing how many memories that brought back.

 

Elizabeth

Well, and then Gretchen, as we mentioned, we’re both in Kansas City right now. Yeah. So we decided to do this with cherry Pop-Tarts. Yes. We have the memory of always having Pop-Tarts when we were in North Platte Nebraska visiting our grandparents because our parents didn’t get us Pop-Tarts, but our grandparents would get them. So they were always a treat when we visited.

 

Elizabeth

And they’re so specific. So you and I, we were at the drugstore and they had Pop-Tarts. So we got a box.

 

Gretchen

We could not resist. It was.

 

Elizabeth

Like.

 

Gretchen

Pop-Tarts. And now we’re grown ups and we can just buy them.

 

Elizabeth

Yes. And they have the exact ones we ate, which was a cherry with frosting, and we each bit into pop tart and boy, was it good. And it brought back grandma and grandpa and our other grandmother.

 

Gretchen

Yeah, because I don’t really eat sugar. It was like, this thing is so delicious. But then it brought back all the memories of cookouts and picnics and. And. Oh, our grandfather didn’t like sweet things. And you know what will we eat with our other grandmother, it just. It unleashed all of these memories that we had kind of forgotten, that we had.

 

Gretchen

Yeah, but came rushing back. So it’s kind of like Proust’s Madeleine Cookie. It’s really true. I was thinking that one thing that would be fun with my college friends is to drink a White Russian. Which. What is it? It’s Kahlua and cream and vodka. I don’t. I don’t know. I don’t. I don’t know what it is, but I drank them a lot.

 

Gretchen

When I was a freshman and sophomore in college, and I’ve never had them since. And I thought, Oh, this would be so funny. When I get together with my college roommates, I should just bust out a picture of white Russians. And I’m sure is.

 

Elizabeth

So.

 

Gretchen

Amazing. We would have one mouthful would probably be enough, but it would be so strongly associated with that time it would evoke those memories. And I like that feeling of feeling connected to the past that we can walk into a drugstore and our past childhood selves are connected to our present selves. To me that’s a very pleasing feeling.

 

Elizabeth

Yeah. But then also what I like is it connects you. If you do it with someone else, it connects you to each other. So we’re connecting, or as you mentioned, connecting with your college friends over a particular taste and smell. So it’s just it’s a feel good thing.

 

Gretchen

It’s a feel good thing. Yeah. You could do it with your own children. Like, oh, this is something that you ate when you were. Do you remember how it used to beg me to make blueberry pancakes when you were three years old? But we haven’t had them. It just. It connects you to other people in the past. And what’s interesting to me is that because of the.

 

Gretchen

What’s your neglected sense question, you and I are neglected senses, taste. And yet, even for us, for whom taste is not the hugest sense that we appreciate even for us, it’s so powerful. And I think that it just shows you why sharing food and drink is such a central part of holidays and rituals and traditions all around the world.

 

Gretchen

Because there is something about sharing food and sharing food memories with people that just has a real power. We felt that power. Yes. And if you want to know your neglected sense, if you think you’re neglected, senses taste like Elizabeth and me, or you want to find out what you’re neglected senses, go to staging.gretchenrubin.com/quiz and it will tell you you’re neglected sense, which is a very interesting thing to know.



Gretchen

And now for a listener question.

 

Elizabeth

This this week’s question comes from Jonathan. He says, I’m submitting a question for me and my wife regarding our 25 year old son. He has moved back home with us while he looks for a job, which is very responsible and he’s a terrific person. We love getting this chance to have him back living with us. Except for one thing.

 

Elizabeth

He’s so messy. He was messy as a child, but we stayed on top of him all the time and figured he would have outgrown it by now. But he’s exactly the way he was when he was ten years old. The two of us are naturally tidy and feel stressed out when things are always in a mess. We really don’t think that our expectations are unreasonable.

 

Elizabeth

We don’t care how he keeps his own room, just the spaces we share. We’ve talked about house rules. Why we find it uncomfortable to live in a mess, and why we feel like he’s being very disrespectful and inconsiderate. He seems to sincerely want to do a better job and will briefly improve. But after a few days, we come home to find that every kitchen cabinet door is open and his stuff is spread out on every surface.

 

Elizabeth

Any suggestions?

 

Gretchen

Well, first of all, I would love to hear from listeners if people have solutions to this, because different levels of comfort with clutter is a major source of household conflict and work conflict. And one of the things, of course, I always think, well, do a for tendencies check. Is he a questioner who’s thinking like, this isn’t an efficient use of my time.

 

Gretchen

Why should I make my bed if I just unmake it or rebel? He’s like, I don’t want to follow the rules. But this this guy doesn’t really sound like a questioner or rebel. It doesn’t seem like he’s saying, I don’t want to be told what to do. And it doesn’t sound like he’s saying this doesn’t make sense. It sounds like he’s trying to do it and then it’s not sticking is my read.

 

Elizabeth

Yes. Which might mean he’s clutter blind. Gretchen, would you know I’m clutter blind? I could walk into a kitchen and all the doors were open and I wouldn’t even notice.

 

Gretchen

Yes, and I think it’s really worth noting that some people truly are clutter blind, so they just don’t see it. And you might say, But don’t you feel so much better when everything’s put away and they might say it like you Elizabeth, you’re sort of like, Well, yes, I’m balanced, but not really. Not the way it affects other people.

 

Gretchen

And so what’s good to know about this is that even if it’s still a point of conflict, it isn’t about him being disrespectful or inconsiderate. It’s not coming from that place. It’s just coming from some people don’t have a sense of direction and some people don’t have a sense of time and some people don’t have a sense of, Hey, let’s close every drawer when we open it.

 

Gretchen

It’s not a lack of consideration. And I think that changes the way that it feels.

 

Elizabeth

Yeah. So if they want to try to do things to help their son along, I know one thing you found useful is using hooks instead of hangers.

 

Gretchen

So one thing is to really try to lower the bar and make things as simple as possible, because maybe that will make it that much easier for him to do it. So yeah, in my family I found we were throwing coats everywhere. I was doing it too, but we put up hooks and it’s just that much more convenient to use a hook rather than a hanger and made a really big difference.

 

Gretchen

One thing that at least bothers me in a household is all the shoes by the front door. They’re just scattered and a lot of people just sort of walk out of their shoes. So they’re just feel like they’re all over the place. So you might get a bin and put it by the front door and it’s like just dump it in the bin.

 

Gretchen

So it’s still out and it’s pretty convenient, but it looks more organized so those little things can make it feel just for the couple who’s feeling visually overwhelmed. That might make it feel more comfortable and it might make it. If you find those ways to make it easier, he might find it easier to stick to the guidelines.

 

Elizabeth

Now, this will help him be less messy, but it might help the couple, which is to remember this is temporary, right?

 

Gretchen

The things that go wrong often make the best memories. This is sounds like a temporary situation. There are many good things about having him at home, so maybe you just want to be like, okay, this is making us bonkers. But he’ll be out in a couple months and we’ll laugh about this. We’re just not going to have it be a constant source of conflict.

 

Gretchen

We’re just going to decide to sort of put up with it. Or another thing you can do is remind him to fix it. And so maybe if he has to be the one, if you say, okay, oh, will you come into the kitchen? Because I see that it’s all a mess. Would you come clear it up? Maybe if he’s the one doing that, that might help him remember.

 

Gretchen

Because as a consequence, I don’t know. What do you think? Would that would that help somebody?

 

Elizabeth

I think it’s hard to say and might again, when you’re cluttered blind, though, you don’t notice it. So that’s the hard thing. Yeah, I would say if they really care and they want to go the opposite of just deciding to put up with it, they could also just issue an ultimatum, high stakes ultimatum, which is either you have to clean up the after yourselves or move out.

 

Elizabeth

And if anything is going to cause him to see that clutter and act, it might be that. But then you have to be willing to follow through, Of course.

 

Gretchen

Yeah. And maybe they don’t want to, you know, I mean, maybe they’re like, Oh, it is nice. So anyway, well, listeners, this is a tricky situation. If you’re clutter blind, what works for you? If you’re interested in my book, Outer Order, Inner Calm has all kinds of things like use hooks instead of hangers. There’s all kinds of easy hacks to try to make it easier to keep clutter under control, so there might be some useful things there.

 

Gretchen

Elizabeth, you’ve really I mean, I will say this is your sister. You used to be much messier. You are much better now. And so maybe it’s just you’ve worked on it for a long time to try to raise your awareness.

 

Elizabeth

Well, I tried, but I have to say, my husband Adam, would disagree with you. He has a much higher bar, but I try.

 

Gretchen

But I have a much better sense of the arc, too.

 

Elizabeth

Good point. All right, Gretch. Coming up, I have a gold star for my niece, Eliza. But first, this break. 

 

[music]

 

Okay, Gretchen, it’s time for demerits and gold stars. And you are up this week with a happiness demerit.

 

Gretchen

What is my issue in that I delay minor fixes Like there’s something that needs to be fixed. It’s clearly needs to be fixed. And it’s as if I’m like, Well, I guess I need to wait six months before I try to fix that instead of just being like, it’s broken, why don’t I fix it? For instance, we had an electrical socket in our kitchen, which is where we need to plug in our microwave.

 

Gretchen

And so it was kind of an important electrical outlet and it stopped working. It wasn’t the breaker or whatever you call it. And I just waited and waited and waited before I got an electrician to fix it, which, by the way, was not a big deal. It was not expensive, didn’t take a long time, wasn’t hard to set up.

 

Gretchen

But in the meantime, the microwave was like in the wrong place. It was very disorderly. And I thought, why is it that I wait it it’s just go ahead and do these things. So I’m trying to do a better job of that.

 

Elizabeth

Well, that’s hard. I think many of us suffer this.

 

Gretchen

Well, this stewing is worse than the doing, you know, just go ahead and do it. But, Elizabeth, what is your gold star? Take us up.

 

Elizabeth

So I am giving a gold star to your daughter, Eliza, my niece, for her Substack, which is called Lucky Duck. So I didn’t know what Substack was until Eliza started doing a substack. But it’s a form of newsletter. So you get an app for Substack and you can follow people. And now that I’m into it, I’m just seeing more and more how great it is.

 

Elizabeth

But Eliza takes the time to write something like, It’s a lot of stuff about culture, but her observations and she analyzes things. One, I’m just impressed that she’s doing it because she’s young and it’s hard to discipline yourself to do something like that. And also I’m just enjoying it and I love having like the perspective of somebody that age.

 

Elizabeth

We’re always grilling her about things when we’re with her from the point of view of her age. And so I love getting that, though Like a recent one she did was about board games and her love of board games and why she likes board games. And then she included all these photos of old board games, which of course, were many that we had as a kid.

 

Elizabeth

So I recognized them and I had forgotten about them. So that also. Holly Hobbie Yes. That particular edition of Lucky Duck took me back to our childhood, but there was also the one I loved about reality competitions because, you know, I love reality competition. Yes, she got you to watch Claim to Fame, which gave me great joy. Yes.

 

Elizabeth

So just Goldstar to Eliza for Lucky Duck. Everybody, of course, should subscribe.

 

Gretchen

Yeah. If you’re curious, you can go to luckyduck.substack.com and you get it in the app. And I sometimes read it now because I follow a lot of substacks, but you can also just get it as an email newsletter. Yes, if that’s your jam. You think of it as being an email newsletter, but but now they have the app.

 

Gretchen

I agree. She did this thing about how reality TV invokes fake science and why they invoke fake science. I was like, This is truly fascinating.

 

Elizabeth

Yeah. Who knew she had so many interesting things to say.

 

Gretchen

So many thoughts. I will tell her about the Gold Star and she’ll be very excited. The resource for this week, the super fans. You know, I love the superfans. You can sign up to be a super fan. You know who you are. You’ll get exclusive offers sometimes I ask for like a favor. Sometimes. That’s a question like, weigh in on this.

 

Gretchen

I’m having trouble deciding what’s the better choice. I have some fun stuff planned for the upcoming season. You could just go to happiercast.com/superfan, and I always so appreciate the support and enthusiasm of the super fans. So thank you for that. And Elizabeth, what are we reading? What are you reading?

 

Elizabeth

I am reading Find Me by André Aciman.

 

Gretchen

And I’m reading The Green Knight by Iris Murdoch. And that’s it for this episode of Happier. Remember to try this at home. Make a mindful investment in yourself and let us know what you chose and how it’s working for you.

 

Elizabeth

Thanks to our executive producer Chuck Reed, and everyone at Cadence 13. Get in touch. Gretchen’s on Instagram and Tik Tok and Threads at Gretchen Rubin and I’m on Instagram and Threads at Liz Craft. Our email address is podcast@gretchenrubin.com.

 

Gretchen

And if you like this show, follow us. Write us, review us, recommend us to a friend. We really, truly do appreciate it.

 

Elizabeth

Until next week, I’m Elizabeth Craft.

 

Gretchen

And I’m Gretchen Rubin. Thanks for joining us. Onward and upward.

 

Elizabeth

Gretchen, you’re in the laundry room and I can see all of mom’s beautiful birdhouses behind you, the little wooden birdhouses are up on the shelf, and because of the angle of your camera, I can see them. I don’t normally see them.

 

Gretchen

I know it’s a very beautiful backdrop for. But if you saw the front of it, it’s all makeshift and pillows and stacks of boxes to get my mic at the right level. It looks very DIY, but I’ve got the beautiful birdhouses behind me so that looks good.

 

Elizabeth

There you go.

 

[music] 

 

Gretchen

And from the Onward Project.




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